Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Be Kind, Please Rewind

Ultanya - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 17:52
Don’t worry as I’m not referring to the Blockbuster VHS tape motto from yesterday. Rather to think back to when some of us started playing Dungeons & Dragons, so long ago. You know, those early years when the game was new, and we were still learning as we played? With that foundation in mind I wanted to talk about something that really irked me this past weekend. At first I wasn’t going to follow-up on the event, but it just keeps gnawing at me. What could it be? How about a very young DM being pushed around by some older players.

For background my 10-year-old son and I decided to visit all the local game stores, and do some shopping together. Now an avid gamer, it’s great quality time together with my son, who admittedly is still wide-eyed when it comes to role-playing games. One of our stops landed us in a store which had several Adventurers League games going in the back room. While browsing the miniature racks, I could not help but overhear the session being played right next to me.

The table was being run by what appeared to be a very young tween (maybe 12-13). The players were in their 40s based on appearance alone. Our young DM is describing what a temple room looks like, to which one of the players obnoxiously makes a sexual reference. The latter is never appropriate in a public game, but that is the subject of another post. Soon thereafter a combat ensues in which the real problems started.

As soon as initiative was rolled, the older players at the table took every opportunity to quote rules and mechanics nuances. It was not done in a helpful way at all, but rather a chiding manner, which quite honestly, I found offensive. Exasperated and literally ganged up on, our young DM caved and went with the crowd at every turn. At one point my son looked to me quizzically and said, “why don’t they just let him DM?” It was that question that hit the nail right on the head in terms of this event unfolding before our eyes.

I could empathize with this young DM, since my time behind the screen started when I was ten years old. Very quickly my player circle exploded, many of which were seniors in high school. Some of those early sessions were rough with the older kids trying to exert control. That said, I learned to establish rule zero if I was going to maintain any semblance of order at the table.

When DMing in a public venue it’s even harder since you never know what sort of personalities may show up to play. A DM already needs thick skin, and the ability to deal with many different idiosyncrasies. Now add to that being potentially decades younger than the players at your table. Why is this important? Because it’s going to start to become more common place around gaming venues everywhere. There is a whole new generation of players growing up in a time where role-playing games enjoy a popularity never seen in the past.

But as always there is a shortage of game masters, regardless of the system. Putting yourself out there, in the public to run a game session, takes a tremendous amount of courage. Some people are just naturals, and others take the role out of necessity. Some players, myself included, prefer to make a world rather than just one single character. Whatever the reason may be, there is a whole cadre of new Dungeon Masters coming up through the ranks now. The older generation of players and DMs alike need to be supportive, and help grow the hobby. Admonishing a young DM for not being a rules encyclopedia, and embarrassing them publicly helps no one.

DMing is arguably a thankless job sometimes. You are the director, production crew, all the supporting characters, and ultimately the organizer. Ironically over the years I have found the players most critical of a DM have spent little to no time behind the screen themselves. It always reminds me of my children’s sporting events. The parents which are barking and being the most obnoxious are usually the ones that never played a sport themselves.

If a young DM has their enthusiasm lessoned by bad public experiences, chances are they will eventually hang up their hat. Or alternatively, they will switch to only home games with friends and family. Either way this is not good for the hobby, and older players need to be mentors when afforded the opportunity. Sure, all the memes like “I have dice older then you kid” are funny, but where does that ultimately get us? I think sharing the love of this awesome hobby, and helping to bring new players and DMs up through the ranks is much more important.

Before leaving the store that day I found that young DM outside opening a tube of dice he had just purchased. I spent a few moments offering some advice and directed him to my blog. But most importantly, I thanked him for being a Dungeon Master, and encouraged him to keep forging ahead. He was very receptive, and seemed genuinely uplifted by our short talk.  Who knows, he could be the next great fantasy writer, a game designer, or perhaps a DIY publisher someday. Or maybe he will just continue being a DM, because another gamer took the time just to say thank you.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Breaking News!

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Mon, 12/19/2016 - 00:01

Breaking News From Archeology Today!
NYC, in the year 2376...


Today archeologists from the Smithownisan Institute of Japan unearthed what is thought to be the last vestiges of a long defunct U.S. political party once called the Democrats.
Dr. Kumwatmae expounded upon the find:  "It's an exciting artifact that we are studying around the clock.  We believe these Democrats, in their dying days, resorted to baby worship by sacrificing millions of them upon the altar of a mysterious pseudo-religion that we can only now identify as something having to do with 'Planning'.  We strongly believe that this symbol may very well be a link to that religion, although my colleague at the dig, Dr. Cumwatmyte, still insists that the representative image is more likely an expression of some hidden angst that was on the rise among their kind and that lead to their untimely demise about 250 years ago."
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A Project I'm Writing and Laying Out at the Same Time

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sun, 12/18/2016 - 20:18
The material dates from 1974 and, oh boy, has it been updated! Cool adventure in the future folks!

More to come!




Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dave Arneson's True Genius Cover FINISHED!

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 16:37



This is a highly reduced resolution JPEG of the cover for Dave Arneson's True Genius that my wife, Nathalie (with some specific help from myself on the graphics end, i.e., the concept lettering for the blackboard), finished today.  Nathalie is very excellent at layout (and many other things, she always surprises)!

Nat has proceeded to laying out the text.  Meanwhile I am plugging away on 2 maps for 2 separate adventures as well as laying out TLS's first PDF product!

We are getting excited here!  I hope you are too!

Enjoy!

Rob & Nat


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

BoardGameGeek Composite Rating for El Raja Key Archive: So Far So Good!

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Tue, 12/06/2016 - 17:22



Initial reactions from buyers at BGG of El Raja Key Archive is at a composite 9.5 out of 10.

LINK:  https://www.boardgamegeek.com/rpgitem/212609/el-raja-key-archive

Not blowing our horn too much here, but we expected very high ratings for this product.

Almost 3 years steady production time went into finishing the project and it also launched a new adventure book line with it.  Its nearly 1,100 hi-res scanned files date back to 1971 and are a roadmap to pre-D&D, early D&D, ancient Greyhawk material, World of Kalibruhn, early TSR and so much more, spanning 48 years of my design history through the original artifacts that were auctioned 2005-2015 but, with foresight, were preserved for the gamers, collectors and historians through hundreds of hours of scanning work over that time.

There has never been an item of this sort produced and made available for the public in the history of RPGs.

TLB Games is currently running a Holiday Sale for ERKA (see link at the right side bar).  Get yours before Santa heads back to the North Pole!


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

My Interview at the Multiverse Blog

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sat, 12/03/2016 - 17:22
"Chillin' after the interview"

Timothy Connolly and I had a week-long give-and-take resulting in an interview that should be of special interest to TSR/D&D historians and serious designers.

LINK:  http://multiverse.world/blog/2016/11/30/qa-robert-j-kuntz/
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

TLB Games Holiday Specials

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 21:15

Holiday Sale Special!!!
Check out our specials for El Raja Key Archive and Sunken City Adventure!

https://www.tlbgames.com/
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Days Have Come Down in the West: November 8 in America

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 11:41




Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?

--JRR Tolkien

There is only one choice in this election and it is not the Wicked Witch of the West...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Robert J. Kuntz's Memoirs Underway

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Fri, 10/28/2016 - 10:04

James Sprattley, producer of The Great Kingdom documentary, and Rob Kuntz

Three Line Studio has started the process of organizing Rob Kuntz's memoirs, a project he started many years ago.  His wife, Nathalie Hachet-Kuntz, will be the lead editor and interface person for her husband while updating and compiling his hand written notes and commentaries and additional material that Rob generates for an overall pool of life stories spanning his days in Lake Geneva, his fortuitous meeting with Gary Gygax and the Gygax family in 1968, and his many and varied personal and professional observations from his career path as a free-lance designer and author.  This major work will include details on his friendships with Gary & Mary Gygax, Donald Kaye (co-founder of TSR), Dave Arneson, and his time as an employee and stockholder of TSR Hobbies, as GENCON's chairman, and his observations and insights from other unique perspectives.

As the project's "overseer" Nathalie will be updating its progress here and at the Three Line Studio website when milestones are achieved.  We expect to have a general release date in about two months, around the time Mr. Kuntz's finished book, "Dave Arneson's True Genius," is made available to the public.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

EL Raja Key Archive Recent FAQ!

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Thu, 10/27/2016 - 10:07


Here are some FAQs we are gathering right out of the gate:

(A growing FAQ will be posted to the web site, but here are answers to some initial questions)

NOTE:  Q/A #18 answers keeping the Archive and Browser on the same drive for optimal operating purposes.

Q1: Is the USB able to be added to the DVD purchase for an incremental cost, or is it a full $160 additional?
A1: Yes, it can be added, simply add a Standard Edition to your order selecting the USB Flash Drive variant above the purple "Add to Cart" button. The price will be $89.99.

Your order would look something like this:

El Raja Key Archive Collector's Edition $159.99
DVD
SKU: 1004

El Raja Key Archive Standard Edition $89.99
USB Flash Drive
SKU: 1002usb

...or

El Raja Key Archive Deluxe Edition $119.99
DVD
SKU: 1003

El Raja Key Archive Standard Edition $89.99
USB Flash Drive
SKU: 1002usb


Q2: Is it possible to see the full listing of included files for each version of the archive, or at least to get a count on the number of files for each?
A2: The Standard Edition is organized into 295 subject pages with 1045 scans. The Basic Edition is organized into 108 subject pages with 420 scans. As an example: the Dark Druids subject page includes two levels: a 1st level with 1 map and 6 pages keys and Level 2 with 1 map and 5 pages of keys.

Thus, one subject page has 13 scans. A comparative list of the subject pages for the Basic and Standard Editions can be found at this link: http://www.tlbgames.com/pages/archive-subject-page-list  It will also be available in the FAQ (coming soon) on the TLBgames.com website.


Q3: What are the differences between the three printed K1 adventures?
A3: The First Print is 40 pages and is over 18,000 words - that is a little larger than G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King which comes in at 16 pages and 17,000 words. The Deluxe and Collector's Prints include an all new encounter area, Tower of Night! The additional encounter area adding about 1,000 words. Additionally, the Collector's Print is both signed and numbered by Rob Kuntz.


Q4: How big are the K1 module booklets, and do they include the maps and keys?
A4: Physically, the booklets have 40 pages and measure 4 3/4 by 7 1/4 inches. The adventure contains the keys and a diagram but the high resolution scans of Rob's original hand-drawn map and legend that go with it ar only in the the Archive. However, you can purchase K1 Sunken City: First Print without any edition of the Archive and then purchase the Map Pack download. As more and more modules come out it will soon be apparent that the Archive represents quite the bargain.


Q5: Are there any sample files available to view/read to help know what they look like (and if they are even readable)?
A5: Find below an image snippet of a map.


[image to appear in FAQ]: also see: http://lakegenevaoriginalrpg.blogspot.fr/2016/08/el-raja-key-archive-sample-image.html



Q6: Are there any samples available to view/read the historical commentary, to see how much value that adds to the Standard edition of the archive? 
A6: The Basic Edition contains 50+ maps and and some keys for about 40 adventures and dungeon levels, plus about 20,000 words of historical commentary. 

The Standard Edition contains all of that... PLUS about 50 more maps (including dozens of regional and area detail maps), dozens of original PCs and NPCs, campaign notes, 100+ magic items, timelines for both Greyhawk and Kalibruhn campaigns, historical documents, memoirs of game play, Rob's resume of work, several beautiful pieces of full-color artwork, plus an additional 20,000 words of historical commentary.

There is no difference in the commentary on the overlapping subject matter between the two editions, i.e., the adventures.


Q7: Are any of the files complete adventures that can be run immediately, or will they require the DM to do additional work beyond reading the files?
A7: Many of the adventures can be run from what is included on the Archive using Old School DM'ing, as Rob often wrote detailed keys but you won't find 4-page stat blocks for the monsters. An example is included below.


[image will appear in FAQ]; also see: http://lakegenevaoriginalrpg.blogspot.fr/2016/08/el-raja-key-archive-sample-image.html



Q8: Do the scans include transcriptions?
A8: No these are Rob's original, 1975, hand-drawn maps and hand-written notes. However, a substantial amount of interesting details are written up in the commentary, and it is this commenetary that is indexed and cross-linked. That is over 7,237 linked entries and 1,541 index entries.


Q9: What are PC/Mac program/system requirements to use the Archive contents?
A9: The Archive is viewable with any reasonably modern Web Browser on any reasonably modern system (including Tablets, Smart Phones, Etc.). Some of the maps are quite large (76 MB, 7461x9185px, 300dpi) and could strain really old systems.


Q12: How is fulfillment and shipping being managed?
A12: Fulfillment and shipping are being handled by The Collector's Trove in the United States. The Collector's Trove has a very high reputation among collectors and provides quality packaging and quick shipping.


Q13: How much is shipping to non-US destinations?
A13: It would depend upon what was being purchased, but as an example: K1 Sunken City alone or the Basic or Standard Edition would cost $15.00 USD each, and the Deluxe and Collector's Editions would cost $25.00 USD each. The difference is based strictly on weight.


Q15: Can the Archive files be printed?
A15: Yes. The files can be printed, although Rob used color-coding on most of his maps, so printing them off in black and white will make them difficult to read.


Q16: Can the Archive files be moved off of the DVD/USB and stored on a computer?
A16: Yes and this will actually speed up the performance of the Archive for most users. Instructions on how to do this are included on a technical sheet enclosed with each copy of the Archive.


Q17: At what resolution are the documents scanned?
A17: The original documents have been scanned at 300 dpi. That means they have the same resolution as the original.


Q18. When I copied the Archive to my hard drive, the thumbnails appear fine, but I am getting 404 Errors from my browser when trying to access the full size images.
A18: The Archive structure uses long paths that when combined with being copied into a deep directory location, e.g. c:\my stuff\gaming\role playing\old school\el raja key archive\, cause the Archive code that manages accessing the full size images from within the thumbnail carousel to operate improperly due to Operating System limitations. If your situation seems to match this, try moving the Archive closer to the root directory.


TO ORDER EL RAJA KEY ARCHIVE GO TO:  https://www.tlbgames.com/
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Three Line Studio/Three Little Books line Goes Live @ 11 AM CST!

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Wed, 10/26/2016 - 10:09

After some delays to bring the project up to the highest standards possible Three Line Studio will launch its first brand under the partnership of Robert J. Kuntz and Paul J. Stormberg: the Three Little Books line of products.  The books are directly associated with the El Raja Key Archive DVD project and TLB acts as an umbrella line for this major project that, to date, has taken nearly 3 years to complete and spans over 40+ years of actual history and endeavor, going as far back as 1971 for content!
At 11 a.m. CST the store will go live!  We invite you to attend this historical launch that marks a very new and robust direction for Robert J. Kuntz's intellectual property which includes the sale of the El Raja Key DVD in its many versions and the accompanying adventure to start the TLB line of Little Books:  Sunken City!
The Following Link Will Take You to Our Store For Complete Ordering Information!  This is accessible at 11 a.m. CST and not before.
http://www.tlbgames.com/
Additional Information and a downloadable PDF about TLB Games is accessible here:

http://www.threelinestudio.com/shop/el-raja-key-archive



Also note the following screenshots from our site for some up front information. 

The TLS/TLB Team:
Rob and Nathalie KuntzPaul J. StormbergKevin Maurice







Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Three Line Studio News

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sat, 09/17/2016 - 17:51


As many may be aware my wife, Nathalie, and myself have formed Three Line Studio.  The premiere product for this is due out in a week, The El Raja Key Archive and the accompanying release, the SUNKEN CITY adventure.   See former articles about these items in older posts, below.

The SUNKEN CITY is the first adventure release in a new brand for THREE LITTLE BOOKS™.  TLB is a partnership formed by myself with Paul Stormberg as distributor of the titles I design.

We have also been constructing the website for TLS to be ready for the launch.

Both products are finished, edited, and laid out.  I was informed by Paul and Kevin (Kevin Maurice is the programmer for the DVD interface) that they are testing the two versions of the DVD and making minor corrections to the index.  This from Paul the 13th of this month:

"I just finished proofing the DVD index yesterday and we are making corrections today. We made it so it could be used both as an index and a search tool.

"We had a really messy version of the index but thought with just a little more work could make it much more user-friendly and useful. We will be done with that today.

"The last thing we need to do then is to proof the entire DVD and all of its functions. We have some Beta-testers that will do the same with numerous different browsers and using multiple computer platforms. That will take us a full day to accomplish. The following day we will address all faults and restest them. Then we burn of master copies of the Basic and Standard and hand deliver them to the local duplicator.

"So far everything is working brilliantly and looks fantastic and professional but we must be certain we have a robust product before making 500 copies of it!

"Almost done!"

As well, the adventure is at the printer and we are attempting to time its printing in concert with the DVD's duplication services as the latter will take a few more days to produce than the adventure.

So as Paul said, "Soon".

Both myself, Paul, Kevin and my wife, Nathalie, have invested thousands of hours and thousands of dollars in this multi-faceted project, so for those waiting and champing at the bit we are right there with you!

Rob Kuntz
President Three Line Studio


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Sunken City Adventure Front Cover

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sat, 09/10/2016 - 20:08
Here's my adventure, Sunken City, first run by me three times at GENCON 8, 1975 as the first tournament in D&D history! This adventure, 41 years later, is being made available with the release of El Raja Key Archive DVD!  With a cover by Jim Roslof (R. I. P.) no less!



Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Final Cover: El Raja Key ARCHIVE DVD Case Wrap

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sat, 09/10/2016 - 01:38
This is the final cover for the ERK ARCHIVE Standard edition.





I'll post the cover for the Sunken City--K1--adventure cover that is being released with it after a good night's rest!




Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Into the City of Brass

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Tue, 09/06/2016 - 21:55

I have started writing the adventure, Into the City of Brass, the 2nd part final for the RPGA adventure I designed in 1987 for DRAGON CON 1.  This sequel was mentioned in the original but qualification for the tourney at the time was just getting to the City.  This is what happens after entering it!  This will be another offering in our Three Little Books™ line from Three Line Studio.  The two color maps were finished over a month ago. Now comes the fun part...
An ancient rendering of 'Brass that I did in an older paint program BITD.




Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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